Yale opens Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA) in India


On a recent trip to India, Yale President Richard C. Levin and a delegation of Yale officials formally opened a new office for Yale's Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA) housed at YRG Care, a non–profit organization based in Chennai.

The office will operate three research projects relating to HIV and AIDS throughout India: Project Parivartan, supported by a three–year grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF); a monitoring and evaluation program funded by the Children's Investment Fund Foundation; and a research and training program supported by the NIH Fogarty International Center.

Project Parivartan is supported by BMGF to conduct research on implementing structural interventions among high–risk groups in the four southern and two northeastern states of India with the highest HIV prevalence: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Manipur, and Nagaland. The project's goal is to reduce HIV prevalence among high–risk populations such as sex workers, truckers, and injection drug users by altering the context within which individuals engage in health behaviors or make health–related decisions.

The Yale team, led by principal investigator Kim M. Blankenship, CIRA's associate director and associate research scientist in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health in the Yale School of Medicine, will collaborate in Project Parivartan project with CARE, an international field relief and development organization. The team will also work with other partners receiving support as part of the BMGF's Avahan India AIDS Initiative to conduct structural analyses of HIV risk and assess structural interventions for HIV prevention.

The second project housed at the new office is an antiretroviral pilot program being implemented by the Tamil Nadu Care and Support Network, in collaboration with the Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society. The program will involve government hospitals, non–governmental and community–based organizations, and networks of individuals living with HIV/AIDS. It will provide comprehensive medical, psychosocial and nutrition services, including antiretroviral therapy, to 500 families with a child infected or affected by HIV/AIDS in three districts in Tamil Nadu. Michael H. Merson, the Anna M.R. Lauder Professor of Public Health and Director of CIRA at Yale, is leading a team of investigators affiliated with CIRA to monitor and evaluate activities for the program.

Nalini Tarakeshwar, associate research scientist in the Yale School of Medicine, and a recipient of an NIH Fogarty International Center Career Award, developed the third program. The research and training program, in collaboration with YRG Care in India, focuses on religious and cultural factors related to HIV secondary prevention and mental health in India. The training will be used to design, implement and evaluate a pilot intervention for promoting HIV secondary prevention and mental health among serodiscordant couples (HIV–positive males and uninfected wives) in India.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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